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Baltimore Living

Best Place to Paddle

Curtis Creek

For sheer diversity of paddling vistas—from military-industrial facilities to suburban backyards to tidal marshes and coves ringed with undeveloped woods—the Curtis Creek watershed offers an unrivaled waterborne experience. Heading inland from Curtis Bay, past chemical plants, fuel-tank farms, coal piers, and a rendering plant, one passes beneath the Pennington Avenue and I-695 bridges, with the roar of the traffic overhead, gliding past the sunken wrecks of long-abandoned vessels. From there, once clear of an old railroad bridge, the creek threads the U.S. Coast Guard Yard and the old U.S. Army Depot before forking to become Furnace Creek and Marley Creek, with the suburban Point Pleasant peninsula dividing the two. On the Furnace Creek side, a stopover may be in order, as there are several beachfront taverns to visit for eats and drinks. On the Marley Neck side of Marley Creek, though, are woods where we’ve seen eagles nesting in the past, and if you paddle far enough up shallow Tanyard Cove, you can imagine that you’re far from civilization, as you’ll lose sight of anything but wooded terrain. Up the furthest reaches of Marley Neck, once you get past Brewer’s Island (a small private isle with a single residence on it) and paddle beneath the Route 648 and Route 10 bridges—something most vessels wouldn’t venture to do—you find yourself in a vestigial meander of tide marsh. We’re hard-pressed to think of a better paddling place so close to Baltimore.

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